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tv   The Daily Rundown  MSNBC  March 9, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EST

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time now for what we learned. pat buchanan, anything? >> yeah, i think what congressman massa did to rahm with, there'll be a dead fish in the mail this afternoon. >> at the very least. sam? >> if you really want to persuade someone to vote a certain way, you confront them while they're naked in the men's locker room. >> and i'm learning that the e-mailers agree, many of them,
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with me. willie, if it's way too early, what time is it? >> it's time for "morning joe." but right now it's time for chuck and savannah and "the daily rundown." let's seize reform! it's within our grasp. >> the president makes the hard sale. but the real action today is behind closed doors. >> and presidential imagery. why some says his team needs to step it up. good morning, it's march 9th, 2010. siam savannah guthrie. >> and i'm chuck todd. let's get to the rundown here in washington. a political sideshow is becoming a bit of a political mess for democrats during their final push for health care. the now former congressman, eric massa, officially walked away from his house seat yesterday, but not before handing out some harsh criticism and accusations about his appeared leaders on the issue of health care. there'll be more to come today. here's nbc's kelly o'donnell this morning with this latest soap opera.
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i don't know what else to call it. >> reporter: it really has been a surprise. one of the things we have been talking about, let's give former congressman massa his due. he served in the navy, served only one term here in congress, about 13 months, until his resignation yesterday. he was under an ethics investigation after a male staffer reported being uncomfortable about an incident. massa described it as something happened at a wedding reception where there'd been a lot of drinking, a lot of guy talk and he acknowledged in a long radio interview that he had made some suggestive comments that he was kidding around with and nothing happened. so that's sort of the backstory. the political story that erupted is that massa has gone on to say that because he was a no-vote on health care, he didn't vote for health care because he didn't think it did enough. he wanted universal coverage and that would be an even more robust public option, as you know, the public option is not in any anywhere now, so he had
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been a no. and he said because of that, namely, rahm emanuel, and the democratic leadership her in congress, wanted him out, was anxious to push him out, had pressured him. that's a very different story than what we had heard last week when he said he would not seek re-election because of a recurrence of cancer. this has been a very strange, many twists in this story and a lot of surprise today, because now conservative talk show hosts are sort of grabbing on to him and saying, wow, he's revealed something. >> very quickly, kelly, where do we stand on the calendar now of when we're going to start seeing some actual votes? you're hearing various deadlines from the white house, pushback from house leaders. where do we think the first vote's going to take place? and when do we think it's going to take place? >> reporter: well, house leaders, of course, really revis any kind of a deadline. there's still ongoing negotiations, for example, with the group of house democrats that are concerned about
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abortion language. best estimates are still possibly next week from the house side, but everyone i talked to is quite uneasy about talking about a time for a vote. so we're watching it closely. chuck and savannah? >> all right, kelly o'donnell on capitol hill for us. quite the drama today and probably for the rest of this week. thanks. >> kelly, thanks. defense secretary robert gates was in the heart of taliban territory today under heavy security. he voted kandahar, where the military is planning a major offensive. nbc's chief pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski joins us now. jim, ways the primary objective for the secretary's visit? >> well, secretary of defense gates spent a couple of days, the past couple of days in the two hottest spots there can be in afghanistan right now, both helmand and kandahar province. now, in helmand, where the marjah offensive is pretty much over, the shooting there has stopped, he was reticent in declaring that a victory just yet, because now that the shooting has stopped, the big
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part, the hardest part, is going to be facilitating the movement of the afghan government to take over operations there in marjah and helmand province. now, in kandahar, of course, that's going to be a major offensive some time later this summer. but they're not even going to attempt that until all 30,000 additional forces are on the ground there in afghanistan. kandahar city is a population well over 1 million. it would take -- it would be like invading philadelphia, actually. and so what they're going to do is nibble around the edges for several months. and even stan mcchrystal, the top military commander there says, it's not going to be one big military push, but slow, incremental progress to try to drive the taliban and their influence out of kandahar. savannah? >> all right. interesting how the military has more or less been announcing where it plans to hit next lately in afghanistan. kind of fascinating. jim miklaszewski at the
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pentagon, thanks. >> you bet. the spring court has taken up a controversial case that pits the first amendment rights of anti-gay protesters against a military family's right to bury their son. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams had a gripping report about this last night. is this a fairly easy legal case to decide, at the end of the day, it's first amendment rights? >> no, i don't think it's going to be an easy case. you have two very strong interests. on the one hand, the religious right of a family to have a private, dignified ceremony to bury their service member killed, in this case, in the anbar province in iraq. not far from here in maryland. and on the other end, you have the first amendment right of protesters. what i think makes the case so emotional is that these protesters are really over the top. this is a group from topeka, kansas. they have signs, and pardon the language here, but they have signs that say, "thank god for dead troops," "thank god for ieds." their theory is that god is
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upset that the gay -- that the military accommodates gays and they show up, basically, wherever they think they can get attention. that's their whole goal. >> they're picketing funerals for service members. >> they're looking for -- >> they're quite candid about that. they say they go these funerals because they know it gets a lot of attention. they know this is very emotional, they know it stirs up a big controversy. now, they lost in the district court, in the trial court, the court awarded the family $5 million -- >> the family sued? >> that's right, the family sued them for emotional distress and -- >> a civilian lawsuit? >> that's right. but the appeals court overturned that, and said, as utterly distasteful, that's their phrase, as this speech is, it's still protected by the first amendment. you normally assume when the supreme court takes a case, they normally take it to overturn it. >> and is the argument on the other side, it's their freedom of religion being pitted against the first amendment right?
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>> the family argues freedom of religion to have a dignified service. >> does it have to do with the cemetery being a public place or not a public -- would it matter if there wis was a national cem versus a private burial site? >> i don't think that's an issue. >> pete williams, thank you. the toyota story gets another wrinkle this morning. look at what happened in california. highway patrol officers had to use one of their own cars to block a prius that went out of control, apparently with a stuck accelerator pedal. the driver said he feared for his life as the car hit 94 miles an hour on the interstate. cnbc's phil lebeau covers the car industry for us. phil, this is a fascinating story, in and of itself. the problem, the larger problem for toyota, as i understand it, is that this was actually not one of the prius models to be recalled, correct? >> not recalled for the sticking accelerator pedal, which is what the driver claims in this case happened, that he could not get his accelerator pedal to stop
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being from in this stuck position, that's why it continued to move faster and faster down the highway, for more than 30 miles. it is part of the floor mat recall. that's the recall last fall where toyota said, listen, some of the floor mats can become lodged under the accelerator pedal, causing unintended acceleration. the driver said he checked the floor mat as he was speeding out of control and that that was not the issue here. so what you have is a case of another person, a very high-profile incident, saying my car was speeding out of control. i almost crashed. it could have been a deadly accident. fortunately, it was not. you have that against toyota saying, we don't see any problems with our electronics in our cars. so investigators are going to have their hands full, trying to figure out exactly what happened here. >> wow. phil lebeau, reporting on this toyota story for us, and i have to say, watching the police officer yesterday and this driver, very credible eyewitnesss to this problem. a bigger pr issue today -- >> and chuck, the police officer said that he smelled brakes, he could smell them and saw them --
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>> when he smelled the brakes, you just know the toyota public relations folks probably had their heads explode. unbelievable. phil lebeau reporting for us this morning from chicago. one day after his fiery health care speech, president obama's day is packed with non-health care events. nbc's athena jones is at the white house for us with a look ahead. athe athena, busy day. tell us about it. >> reporter: that's right. good morning. he has a very busy day, most of it is closed press, which means we won't be seeing much of him. after his usual morning briefings, he has a lunch and then later he meets with george poppen day yew. we expect them to discuss issues like recovery reform, global proliferation, and the two countries work together through nato. we also know that greece's finance minister will be taking part in the meeting, so we expect them to bring up the country's debt crisis. but as we heard yesterday after the prime minister met with secretary clinton, greece is not asking the u.s. for any sort of
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direct financial assistance. so we don't expect that sort of ask to come out of this meeting. later in the day, the president has a bipartisan meeting with a group of senators to discuss energy policy. among that group, we'll expect to see john kerry, joe le lieberman, lindsey graham, susan collins, max baucus, judd gregg, among others. comprehensive energy reform or energy bill is one of obama's big agenda items. i don't know if you remember during the state of the union, it was one of the area where is the president sort of took pains to point out that the house has acted. he says the house has passed a comprehensive bill and the senate hasn't. so he wanted the senate to get on board. this meeting is a first step toward getting that process moving again. >> all right. yet another thorny issue that's sort of been pushed to the sidelines, but one that will become more and more importantly as the senate tries to twabackl it. athena jones, tanks so much. coming up, not sure you understand this whole greek debt
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crisis. should the u.s. step in to help? can we even afford it? coming up next, we'll take it to steve liesman and john harwood. plus, who can forget the image of george w. bush landing on an aircraft carrier during the iraq war in 2003. well, some say these images are evidence of all that's right and wrong about presidential stagecraft. >> we'll get into that issue. first, a look ahead at the president's schedule. and as you can see, it is a busy one. you're watching "the daily rundown" on msnbc. as a dermatologist, i always hear about products
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so later today, prmpresident obama preets with the prime minister of greece who's in the midst of a major financial crisis. one who's ripple effect could be felt around europe and beyond. >> with us now, our expert, cnbc's steve liesman and cnbc's chief washington correspondent, john harwood, also with "the new york times." steve, i'm going to put it to you first, before we even start on this topic. can you just explain it for all of us who may be haven't been following every little wrinkle in the debt crisis issue, what's been going on with greece? >> okay. so they spent way more than they had, they ran huge budget deficits. and fundamentally, the bond market lost faith in the ability of greece to repay and they started demanding much higher interest rates to roll over or to recycle the debt. and that was hurting greece's ability to repay the debt. so it became a vicious cycle on the downside. we also found out, not only were their deficits really high, but much higher than we thought
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because greece had created these really funky securities that really allowed it to lie about how much debt it had. >> and it affects the rest of europe, right, so now it's kind of spread like wildfire? >> right. so the fundamental questions about greece became questions about several other countries, portugal, italy, spain and ireland among them. whether or not they could repay their debt. and it really has blown open this whole question of the eurozone. they all have the same currency, but they all have different bonds and different -- they're in charge of their own fiscal houses. so the question becomes, will the european union step in? and of course, one of the questions now is whether or not the u.s. should, which i would say almost definitely not. >> all right. john, i will point to you. nobody expects the u.s. to rescue greek. sort of which that isn't what the u.s. did with mexico, when they had a debt crisis like this, they did step in. the u.s. is not in a position to step in at this point, is it not? >> no, i don't think they are.
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and savannah, nice lowballing, because i know you have been following every detail of this process. >> i have. >> i think this is a useful meeting for president obama for his own argument for financial reform. you've got the greek prime minister came into washington, gave a speech yesterday, saying, we've got to crack down on speculative trading. got to crack down on shortselling, some of the problems greece is saying is contributing and exacerbating their problems. at the same time, the obama administration is trying to get congress to approve a bill restricting the activities of wall street. >> and greece is putting the blame on some wall street bankers, including goldman sachs by name. you hear that they were the ones that helped greece figure out how to hide their debt. >> i think that would be the same goldman sachs the president called out yesterday in pennsylvania from that conference call. but, yes, they're making the argument that while goldman sachs was helping greece borrow money, they were also betting against greece's debt. contributing to the lower ratings for greece's debt and b
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costs. >> and steve, is europe essentially holding the bag, because the other countries if the eurozone are to some extent responsible for greece? >> that's not entirely clear, savannah. the question is whether or not they will step in, should they step in? does stepping in violate the eurozone treaties that are out there? i will just say that the idea of wall street being responsible for what's happening to greece is something that is debated on wall street. perhaps they did help make the securities, but whether or not the speculative trading really helped greece go down the tube or greece's own responsibility is more what folks on wall street would say. >> i want to wrap this up, but germany and great britain are not going to step in and help greece here, is that right, with steve? >> chuck, it's realliard to understand. georgia has said no, but it's unclear who's talking for germany. there are different parts of the german government and the german
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bank. so it's very unclear. ultimately, the market thinks they will step in. >> i do think it's largely a confidence game and what you see is even the mixed signals are signals that in the end, greece is going to get help. >> and the unintended consequence, the dollar has gotten stronger against the euro. there it is. go figure. john harwood, steve liesman, thank you both for trying to put this into some perspective. it's not an easy issue to understand, but it's hugely important. coming up, the u.s. calls for swift action in nigeria after more than 200 christians were killed in religious violence there. plus, in today's "2010," can republicans win on their pledge to repeal health care if it gets passed. but, first, "washington speak," that's pretty relevant to our discussion, piigs, the ununfortunate wall streetñi acronym that stands for portugal, ireland, italy, greece, and spain. >> you might know them as though
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nice vacation getaways, but right now they're more known for being in the midst of massive debt crisis and greece is front and sfer today at the white house on just that issue. and the idea is, were any of these countries -- should they have been allowed into the whole eurozone in the first place. did they have too much debt? this is the da"the daily rundo, oinking a, only on msnbc. how can i keep my best employees? how can i bring down my insurance costs? and while at american express open we may not have all the answers, we know who does. other owners. that's why we're helping business owners connect. together, we're building a community for them to talk, share and help each other. a place called openforum.com where owners can swap ideas and ask questions. will tweeting get me more customers? how can i make my business green? and one question seems especially popular. how can i get paid faster? how can i get paid faster? i was about to ask you the same thing.
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which i think the november 2010 elections will be decided. >> but the word "repeal" is a buzz word. and at an off-camera briefing about an hour later after his appearance with us, cornyn was more definitive. asked if the health care bill passes, then the republican line should be, we should repeal it? cornyn answered, i believe so. already, republicans running in 2010 have signed on to a club for growth pledge to repeal. among the names who have signed on to this list, all three of the top republicans running against harry reid, kelly iyoth in nn, roy blunt in missouri, those two in kentucky, marco rubio in florida, peter schiff in connecticut, and the list goes on and it's probably going to get longer. by the way, really quick, cornyn on that rubio/crist race, he stands by his crist endorsement, but he says the committee and the national party would say nothing negative about rubio. moving on and staying in the senate. today the white house recognizes
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greek independence day, as we've been telling you, two weeks early, the actual day is march 25th. among those who will be at a reception tonight in the east room, the democratic nominee for obama's senate seethe in illinois, alexi giannoulias. he has been plagued by bad news about his family bank, which he himself is likely to go belly-up if the next two months. republicans have made the bank such an issue nah giannoulias has launched a fact check website, the truth about alexi. democrats in and out and illinois tell me and acknowledge that giannoulias have about 2 1/2 months to prove that this latest bank baggage isn't too much to overcome. so far, he's hanging tough with republican mark kirk in the polls. by the way, my favorite greek holiday, ohe day, held in
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october. when the greeks stood up to mussoli mussolini, they said no because ohe means know. and there is some election day going on in illinois and we'll have it for you tomorrow. the day they stood up to mussolini and said, no way, man, get your fascism and keep it in the boot. coming up, democrats, are they losing ground on national security? the latest poll numbers aren't going to give much comfort to democrats or the white house. and former governor turned minnesota governor, jesse ventura, he's talking 9/11 conspiracies. and what do these guys have that some argue president obama is lacking. the hint, of course, is what's going on behind the picture. presidential imagery will be our discussion coming up. but first, today's trivia question from t"the almanac of american politics". who is the landlord of the town house shared by congressman bill delahunt and senators chuck
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and save up to $15 off your refills. go to nasonex.com for details, terms and conditions. it's 9:30 on the east coast, 6:30 in the west. vice president joe biden is continuing his push to restart peace talks in the east. today he met with benjamin netanyahu in jerusalem. >> chris matthews is traveling with the vice president and has just come from interviewing him and joins us on the phone now. chris, let's start with where you're at there in israel. what did the vice president say about how to jump start these stalled talks? >> well, you know that's all going to go on. and i think we have to be patient about that, obviously. these talks have been going on since we were all born. and the proximity talks are very strange, because you're going to have george mitchell taxing back
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and forth between his hotel here in jerusalem, where i'm at right now, and ramallah, back and forth, about a 20-minute ride, over and over and over again, being like a human ping-pong ball between the netanyahu government here in israel and the mahmoud abbas government over there on the west bank. and you know, it's just going to take a long time. and i'm telling you, i don't think we got a big breakthrough in the interview today on that. but on tonight's program, i think the big story is going to be the strong language the vice president used today in our interview, which we've just conducted for tonight's program on "hardball," where he really does say the united states will will do whatever is necessary, which is pretty strong language, to make sure that ahmadinejad does not have a nuclear weapon. >> chris, do you feel like the white house, vice president biden, feel like there's some repair work in terms of relations with israel that need to be done and this trip is part of? >> well, there's no doubt. the first thing we noticed he
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did is he walked into the president's house, shimon perez's house and walked over and signed the guest book and said that i'm here to basically confirm the unshakable bond between the united states and israel. he used the phrase, the term, "unshakable," which is not a common vocabulary word. he felt the need, so you could probably read into that the need for a guy like biden who's totally been pro-israeli since the time he got elected as a 29-year-old guy in delaware to being a very pro-israeli politician with that reputation and those bonds of friendship personally that he's over here to vouch for this administration. and i clearly got that sense. that he's -- and i asked him about that. why did you feel the need to say "unshakable bond" with israel, when everybody knows we've got one. and he said, it's like you have to keep telling your wife you love her. that was his nice way of putting it.
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but that's -- >> biden being biden. >> -- skepticism toward the president because of the fact that his stepfather was muslim or he has that middle name of hosein or just his roots. and he said, no, there's no skepticism towards him, but i think as journalists, i think we have to be skeptical about that statement. i had a little incident, we go over and ask people questions and have only been here a day or two. i asked a young woman today, what do people feel about barack obama today and she said, depends who you ask. if you ask a conservative, you'll get a negative view and if you ask a liberal, you'll get a positive view. >> they are very attuned to american politics over there in israel. chris matthews, i know we're looking forward to it. it's mathews, it's biden, it's mathews being mathews, biden being biden. don't miss "hardball" today at 5:00 eastern, 7:00 eastern right here on msnbc. going to be a good one. >> thanks, chris. >> thank you. a new poll shows democrats are losing voter confidence on keeping the nation safe.
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>> 33% of likely voters say democrats can do a better job on national security. that's down eight percentage points since may. confidence in republicans are up seven points. here with us now, democratic pollster, stan greenberg who conducted this poll. i'm going to devil into a few things. number one, the first thing that jumped out at me in your release is you immediately separated likely voters and drop-off voters. and you could notice immediately the difference of democratic performance among voters who say they're going to vote in november and voters that say they're not. >> this is a big part of the story. it's natural but exaggerated by what happened in 2008. a lot of people surged into the electorate. some long-term favor democrats. there are these young voters, latinos, some african-americans are much harder to get to vote in an off year. they're much more democratic. so a significant part of the democratic slide has been this disengagement. so went we look at what happens in the battles in the congress, who gets engaged, who's
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energized, obviously, the right is. tea party's energized. but democrats are not and that's part of this drop-off. >> and let's look at the top line of your poll, because what's really striking is how much has changed if one year or less than one year. where some folks thought democrats had closed that traditional national security gap, where people trusted republicans more with national security, it seems to be widening again. correct? >> it is. at least for democrats. so this is kind of a critical moment and this is kind of a wake-up call. >> title of the memo. >> title of the memo is wake-up call. because it shows the president's doing pretty well in national security. highest marks, well above his overall job approval on national security, handling foreign policy, handling terrorism. people think we're more safe than pubush, so he's got fairly high marks. the democrats have dropped more sharply. >> there's a split between obama and the democrats. >> it's come down, but he's come down on everything. it's such a big gap between his national security approval, almost ten points, from his overall approval, that the
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president is getting something right. right now the doubts have reemerged. >> you were in the room in 1994 with bill clinton when health care was bringing down his presidency short-term. we have these moments, the end of the presidency for a month, and then the next month it comes down. >> i relive it every day. >> what advice would you give right now this white house who's under siege a little bit, palace intrigue, your friend rahm emanuel under siege, but also health care. what advice are you giving them on this issue? >> i'm giving advice generally, to everyone, and also directly. went it a win it and explain it. the biggest problem for the democrats was this long six-month battle, inconclusive, gridlock, just political process and no result. they have to win it, they have to have progress on health care. but they have to explain it. people have no idea what it is. in 1994, it was the end of september. six weeks before the election that they gave up on health
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care. so it was late in the process, they failed on it. they didn't explain it. the president did not give a major speech saying what it is. so explain what this is, define the choice. >> time on their side, you still think? >> absolutely. >> stan greenberg, democratic pollster. >> is rahm still sleeping on your couch? >> no, sleeping on the couch, with his wife. now to "the mash," karl rove was live on the "today" show this morning, and had this exchange with matt lauer, rejecting allegations that the bush administration lied to lead the u.s. into war in iraq. >> but there were many -- >> but you said it was worldwide. there was disagreements. >> there was a consensus. it doesn't apply that everybody agreed, but it implies that the preponderance of evidence and the majority of agreement was that there were wmd. that's a worldwide consensus. you can try to rewrite history, but we thought he had wmd, was a threat to the stability of the region, and in the aftermath of 9/11, the calculus changed.
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it was, repeat, a bipartisan agreement. so if president bush lied, then senator clinton lied, senator kerry lied -- >> did the president share all of -- >> white house press secretary robert gibbs defended the white house chief of staff rahm emanuel against a flurry of reports on west-wing infighting and staff tension on another program this morning. >> the president has confidence in each and every person that works here, george. we're privileged to serve the american people from the white house. the president is not focused on palace intrigue. it says something about this town that this goes for entertainment. >> okay. and from professional wrestler to minnesota governor, jesse ventura is also now a best-selling author. his new book, got a good title, american conspiracy, lies, lies, and more dirty lies, explores what ventura says are government cover-ups and he includes 9/11 in that. >> they knew about osama bin laden in may. >> are you saying the bush
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administration? >> yep. >> the bush administration had a political agenda if allowing the 9/11 attacks to occur? >> well, it's not so -- you know, look back in history. my goal is this. i believe 100 years from now, i want people to be able to read that not all of us bought the stories. >> by the way, savannah, my favorite part of this is that governor ventura now says he's living off the grid. off the grid in his definition means south of the border. apparently he's living in mexico now. >> nice work if you can get it. let's do our trivia question. who is the landlord of the town house shared by congressman bill delahunt and senators chuck schumer and dick durbin, all democrats? well, the landlord is democratic congressman george miller of california, top adviser to speaker pelosi. they could have a conference committee right there. >> they all got together, actually, when they were all house members. now they're senators and share a house. very nice. coming up, does president obama need to step up his stagecraft? insiders are worried his message is getting lost in the mediocre
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images that surround him up next, we'll go in the room with journalist ron vort who wrote about this issue. but first, it's the white house soup of the day. it's a good one, luppa toscani. >> a very mediterranean program ♪ wellbeing. we're all striving for it. purina cat chow helps you nuture it in your cat... with a full family of excellent nutrition... and helpful resources. ♪ purina cat chow. share a better life.
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barbie doll made her grand entrance at the national toy fair in new york. >> now you know. >> any barbie news is always welcome here. all right. president obama's fiery pitch for health care reform may have been most notable for its campaign-style delivery. >> but past presidents have shown that making an impression may take more than words. it's about imagery as well. ans s aspect of political thea that president obama seems to reject. john ward and steve renbenowitz is with us and did this sort of imagery for president clinton in the early part of his presidency. john, you have a pretty tough piece on this issue of a lack of imagery with this president. >> yeah. and what made the piece unique is i got dan pfeiffer, the communications director, robert gibbs, to talk about this. and we've had conversations back and forth about communications. there have been people who have talked about the need for better
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imagery out of this white house, but i think the fact that these guys went out and talked about the fact that they actually do in some cases, cairo, for example, prefer to communicate more through words than through images, was, i think, pretty remarkable. >> what's striking about it, and we cover the white house every day, so we see it, he seems to always be standing in front of either yellow curtains, blue curtains, or a red backdrop. but it's almost a disdain for using images. they don't like the artifice. >> there may be some reason there where they feel like they didn't do a good enough job over the past year, and this is maybe an excuse, but there does seem to be some real belief there to put too much into the iconic images inauthentic and it's quite remarkable. >> steve, what is the line? other presidents have came in with the same kind of rhetoric. they're not going to be fluff, this or that, and this was in response to how reagan and michael dever who created this
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idea in the modern way. how do you draw that line? you've been somewhat critical of their lack of use of images. >> frustrated more than critical. i don't think it's compensating for not having done enough in the first year. i think there's a lot going on in political communications these days. and that these guys are mostly getting it right, getting it more right than they're getting credit for. and now with cable and the web and social media, that there are so many political communications tools, i just wish that imagery would be one more of them. it seems like they feel they have to choose between policy and imagery the way reagan chose imagery, and yet i think they can have it both ways. >> we've been showing a series of images, some that you think work. more often than not, we see the president as we're showing right now, standing behind a blue screen. in your mind, what are some of the presidential staging events that have worked? some people look at the president landing on an aircraft
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carrier, president bush, as how stagecraft can go terribly wrong. >> that's an example that dan pfeiffer gave you, john, as one of the things they don't want a mission accomplished moment. and they're not going to get one. it's no danger that this president is going to claim victory in iraq or afghanistan before he actually achieves it. so i'm not really so concerned about that. i think that yesterday was a great event. the big giant rally in the round. and they've proven that they can do that. i just wish it wasn't the same event all the time. never mind the white house event, with what i call four stuffed shirts and a blouse. >> jon, did you get the sense, though, that they kind of get it. like, we've got to do something a little bit different. and if so, how are they going about it? >> i think they've both acknowledged they need to do better. they've already talked about t getting him off the white house more. >> that's location. what about the imagery front?
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>> i think they're going to put more into it. they've created a false choice that doesn't have to be there. i'm a big fan of neil postman's book, "amusing ourselves to death," and he talks about, when you have tv, it's not going to leave and if you don't like it, you have to deal with it. >> steve, what works and what doesn't work? they did actually have the other day in the white house a bunch of doctors and nurses for that health care reform, but frankly, that seemed a little lame. >> and it seemed last-minute. let's bring out the white coats. >> doing this right is tricky. >> they're trying. okay, i cringed a little bit when i saw it, but i thought, at least they're trying and i'm rooting for them. i wished it had been ten blocks up the street at a hospital, but they're trying and i'm rooting for them. >> so dress it up. if you had to do this, wakd you do? these rallies, these political rallies, this is all he's going to be doing in some form or another, it's a rally for legislation or rally for a politician. how do you change those? >> yesterday worked because he
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hadn't done it in so very long. so you saw him fired up and excited. i saw the pictures, so that kind of worked. but i liked it last month if ohio in a factory. i like it when he's in real settings. you can do both. the photo op and then the speech or the rally. >> americans are are pretty sophisticated audience about media images and what they're being fed and asked to consume. would that still work? what worked for reagan or even bush or modern e era? >> it will for this guy because nobody thinks that this president isn't about policy and that he's not up to the policy. he knows the policy. for me it's the right policy. i just wish there were pretty pictures to go with it. >> john ward? >> one of the best criticisms was that the day-to-day events all look the same. they need to make that not the case. >> the problem is the white house is the same build iing.
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. >> they need a disco ball. >> they used more rooms than i ever did. a different room every day. i like that. >> in front of a blue backdrop. >> you're right. you didn't know. all right. >> john ward and steve, thanks so much. interesting discussion. coming up, it's march madness fever. i have it this week almost as good as next week, trust me. plus, betty white's big announcement. did she finally score that date for saturday night? and don't forget "hardball's" chris matthews has interviewed joe biden in jerusalem. see it tonight. it's biden and matthews. don't miss it. [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee-time. time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze, my eyes water. but with new zyrtec® liquid gels, i get allergy relief at liquid speed. that's the fast, powerful relief of zyrtec®, now in a liquid gel. zyrtec® is the fastest 24-hour allergy medicine. it works on my worst symptoms so i'm ready by the time we get to the first hole. and that's good because the competition's steep today.
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okay. before we go, time to dip our toes into the shallow end. 88-year-old former "golden girls" star betty white says she's head iing to "saturday nit live."
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her fans have been asking her to do "snl" since her super bowl snickers ad was such a hit. we loved her in "golden girls." >> speaking of super bowl ads, lindsay lohan is suing e-trade for $100,000 over its commercial. she says they used her likeness for the boyfriend stealing milkaholic baby who just happens to be named lipped si. really? seriously? >> okay. and now for the chuck todd fashion report, the first lady's inaugural gown, chuck, goes on display at the smithsonian tomorrow. when the new gallery to the first lady's exhibit opens, michelle obama is presenting the dress to the museum this morning. remember that? all first ladies since 1912 have contributed to the collection. and now she will be part of it, too. >> a very part of the smithsonian. time for part of the march madness. four teams punched their tickets to the tournament. the tiny south carolina school of waford heading to the tournament for the first time after holding off michigan's
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appalachian state and winning the southern conference title. other automatic bids go to st. mary's who just plastered gonzaga, a supposedly number 18 team. old dominion beat william & mary. sienna could be a cinderella and so will st. mary's. meanwhile, business as usual for the women of uconn. another game, another win, this time over notre dame. a little tough for them. it just so happened, though, they made history at the same time. this is their 71st victory in a row. 71 games in a row. and not one of those 71 victories has come by less than ten points. >> go ladies. >> it's a slaughter. >> get your brackets ready. that's it for "the daily rundown." we will see you tomorrow. hey!
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